Showing posts with label The Constable Closet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Constable Closet. Show all posts

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Seeing the Start

Work in Progress
30 x 70 triptych

Something happened yesterday in the studio that was, I think, a completely new experience for me. I've been thinking about painting some large pieces lately and buoyed by the imminent completion of The Constable Closet, I decided to start a 30 x 70 triptych this weekend. I filled up pages of my sketchbook with thumbnails and completed two underpaintings of pieces with a similar motif. I could see in my mind's eye what color harmony and effect I wanted and a general idea of the motif, but I still hadn't worked out the composition. I tend to work in squarer formats so composing this elongated horizontal was giving me fits. Plus, composing a triptych is arguably three times as challenging because each panel must stand on its own as well as support the whole.

So, when I went to the studio yesterday to start it, I still hadn't really settled on a composition. I thought I'd sketch some more and try to resolve it. I walked in and put the three panels up on my easel and moved the other two pieces I had already laid in to my work table. I looked at them, then looked at the panels and well, I "saw" the composition on the panels all laid out. I didn't think, I didn't conjure it up, I just saw it. It only lasted a few seconds, but I saw it.

I was taught to "see" the final work in my mind's eye and this is what I also encourage my students to do. But that exercise, at least to me, is more about the translation of the subject into paint-understanding what you want your finished painting to look like before you start- seeing the finish. This experience was more about process- more about "seeing the start". And I didn't "see" it in my mind's eye, I saw it on the panels. Or, maybe I just had one too many Diet Cokes.